Berchtesgaden is a picturesque alpine town, hidden away in the southeast corner of Germany at the Austrian border. It’s placed right in the middle of Berchtesgaden National Park which bears the same name and is a must-see attraction while visiting the town.
Above Berchtesgaden, you’ll find the most popular attraction in the town, the infamous Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s summer hideaway!
Besides being historically famous, Berchtesgaden is rich in breathtaking nature and adventure for all ages. When you’re at the Eagle’s Nest, you can spot one of the most popular lakes in Germany, the Königsee.
During our research, we found the 10 best things to do in Berchtesgaden according to tourist reviews. Let’s jump right in!
10. Rossfeld Panorama Strasse
If you’ve arrived by car or motorbike, tourists recommend taking a drive along the beautiful alpine road.
The Rossfeld Panorama Strasse is the highest panoramic road in Germany and you’ll hit 1,600 meters in altitude on your way through the hairpin turns. The road stretches into Austria, so remember your passport if you want the full experience.
Fun fact: The alpine road occasionally serves as backdrop for movies, and was used in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, during a car chase when Indiana rescued his father.
9. Franziskanerkloster Berchtesgaden
The Franziskanerkloster, meaning Franciscan monastery, was built in the early 15th century for Augustin choir women, and has been used for many different purposes throughout history.
The monastery consists of the church and the monastery itself. The interior can be classified as gothic, but has changed style many times.
It’s easy to find the Monastery and just as easy to find a parking spot outside the church. Lookout for special events if you really want to experience the church.
8. Schützensteig – Klettersteig
If you’re visiting Berchtesgaden during summer, tourists recommend trying to climb the Schützensteig, a 7 km long hiking road with lots of challenges. Although it’s not recommended for small children, some parents say that it’s doable for larger kids, and the hike is generally considered as a great climb for beginners.
Along the way you’ll encounter steep cliffs, chilling suspension bridges and fresh air. Once you reach the top of mount Vogelstein (Jenner), you can enjoy the amazing scenery and the gorgeous view of lake Königsee.
7. Wallfahrtskirche Maria Gern
North of Berchtesgaden, high up in the Alps, you’ll find the idyllic pilgrimage church of Maria Gern.
Like many other German churches, Maria Gern Wallfahrtskirche is several centuries old, but still manages to stand out in the landscape despite rough weather for hundreds of years.
The church is typically baroque, and was built during the Reformation. Inside, you’ll find multiple, well-preserved altars, where the high-altar was made in walnut by local craftsmen in the early 18th century.
6. Watzmann Therme
No stay in an alpine town without relaxation. Berchtesgaden is no different and has several options to choose from. We found that the most popular resort was the kids-friendly, thermal bath Watzmann Therme, located in the Northern part of Berchtesgaden.
For families, you can relax at the Adventure Pool with your kids, or send them to the Blackhole Waterslide for more action. There is even an area for toddlers with luke water and small pools as well
For couples there is a large, luxurious wellness-area with spas and saunas and even an outdoor brine pool, where you can relax after a day’s hiking or action.
5. Schloss Berchtesgaden
Want to visit a nearly 1,000-year-old castle in Germany?
No problem, Berchtesgaden has something for castle-aficionados as well. Built in the early 12th century, this castle has had several owners, the royal Bavarian family among others, and served as a summer residence and hunting lot.
Today it’s owned by Wittelsbacher Ausgleichsfonds, a foundation that welcomes visitors to its publicly open museum with original furniture and paintings along with optional guided tours.
4. Dokumentationszentrum Obersalzberg
During WW2, the Nazis spent a great amount of time in the surroundings of Berchtesgaden and in Obersalzberg in particular. If you take a small detour from the town, you’ll reach Obersalzberg a few miles away.
Here, tourists recommend visiting Dokumentationszentrum Obersalzberg, which is a museum where you can learn a fair amount of the German occupation during the war. Obersalzberg served as a Summer residence for Hitler through the purchase of the Berghof, and several hotels in the town had hidden tunnels leading to protective bunkers. They were however bombed by the allies during an attempt to remove the Kehlsteinhaus (see #1).
Whether you prefer visiting the museum by yourself or through guided tours, you’ll definitely learn something new about the war and the history of the area.
3. House of the Mountains (Haus der Berge)
Just as with the prior museum, you can visit the Berchtesgaden National Park Centre to learn about the area through all your senses.
Here, you’ll have access to award-winning exhibitions including beautiful interactive movies that take you to the bottom of the Königsee through the Bavarian forests to the mountain peaks of Berchtesgaden National Park. The museum is for everyone keen to know more about the area, and the centre is divided into an Information Centre and an Educational Centre, along with an outdoor facility.
2. Salt Mine Berchtesgaden (Salzbergwerk)
Berchtesgaden offers everything, and the underground is no exception. Discover Salzbergwerk, a salt mine dating back to the 13th century, which makes it the oldest in Germany. It’s for good reason that tourists rank it #2 in our lists. It’s one of the most popular things to do in Bavaria!
During the guided tour in the six-thousand square meter area, which lasts roughly one hour, you’ll ride the mine train, watch interactive exhibitions, experience chilly salt caves and
Tourist Tip: Even though you visit the mines during Summer, visitors recommend having warm clothes due to the cold mines (the temperature is around 12 degrees celsius all year round.
Entrance fee: From €10.5
Tickets and info: Visit website
1. The Eagle’s Nest (Kehlsteinhaus)
The number one thing to do in Berchtesgaden according to tourists by a wide margin, is of course the world-famous Eagle’s Nest.
Sitting on top of the Kehlstein mountain, the house was built in the early days of WW2 and cost a whopping 170 million dollars, including a German submarine engine powering the entire house. Luckily Kehlsteinhaus still exists today due to a failed attempt to bomb it during the war.
The house, owned by a trust, is open to visitors and presents a guided tour, and it’s also possible to eat at the panoramic restaurant. You’ll access the house through a 124 meter vertical elevator at the foot of the hill. From the top, you’ll enjoy a breath-taking view of the Bavarian Alps and if the weather allows, you’ll be able to see more than 100 miles.
To access the house, you’ll have to walk (two hours) from Obersalzberg, or take the local bus.
Fun fact: Hitler only visited the house five times due to fear of heights and thin air, even though they held Eva Braun’s sister’s wedding here.